The Spirit of Philanthropy
Do you remember the 1946 Holiday Classic "It's a Wonderful Life"? I watch it every Christmas. One scene that stands out in my mind features Jimmy Stewart's character, George Bailey, dreaming he is visiting his hometown but finding out he never existed. Boy, did the town change for the worst without George!
It occurred to me, what would any charity be like if the charity and the associated spirit of philanthropy never existed?
Without The Salvation Army, Indiana Division, which operates through philanthropy, for example:
- Young children at the Ruth Lilly Women and Children's Center wouldn't receive a safe haven and means to help them in a time of crisis.
- Children would not be able to attend a summer camp for free.
- 875 families wouldn't receive more than 12,000 donated toys to give to their more than 2,250 children on Christmas morning.
- 3,875 children would not have new winter coats, hats and gloves each year.
- Hundreds of older adults would not receive a variety of social services on a daily basis.
- More than 510,000 free meals could not be distributed to the hungry in Central Indiana each year.
- More than 110,000 free nights of shelter would not be available to the homeless in Central Indiana annually.
- Thousands of volunteers could not serve others, and thousands of disaster victims would not have services provided to them at the time of their greatest need.
- Hundreds of individuals would not be given a second chance through the Pathway of Hope Program to have better lives.
- Many in constant need in our community would not have services directed to promote the healing of their bodies, minds and spirits, 24/7, 365 days a year.
And the list goes on and on.
You can see that philanthropy enhances the total care, giving and ministry at The Salvation Army. The same examples can be applied to your charity. Gifts in whatever form enable your charity to be a center link between your donor and recipient of good will. Never take your charity for granted, and always make your organization's existence meaningful.
Bottle the energy and passion of the holiday season, and sprinkle it throughout the year. Take a breath, and enjoy memorable holiday moments with your family. Recharge your batteries, and watch "It's a Wonderful Life." It is a wonderful life when you make a difference in the lives of others. Happy holidays to you and your family.
To be successful in our profession, there has to be a little George Bailey in all of us. Always strive to put others first, and you will be totally satisfied with your career choice. Always keep the spirit of philanthropy within you, and don't be greedy. Rub some spirit on those you touch! You are not in a dream. You do exist, so make every day count!
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.